This lesson seeks to help students understand that following Jesus transforms who we are (inside and out).
Ask students to write a short paragraph about themselves using the pronoun “I”. Tell them to be somewhat vague and to try to hide their identity, but to be truthful. Hand the paragraphs to the leader who will read them aloud and allow students to guess the writer’s identity. The object is to try and fool the group, which encourages kids to share things about themselves not already known.
“You all know the verse: ‘If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation’, right? But then what? Tonight, we are going to look at transformation (inside and out), what it means to have a new identity that comes as part of our relationship with Christ, and how that identity plays out in real life. First, we’re going to read a letter from Paul to one of the early churches (Ephesus). Listen for what the marks (characteristics or traits) of this ‘new creation’ are for them…”
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:17-24 (Today’s New International Version)
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts. 19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed. 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness… (the verses that follow offer some practical examples of this)
- What are the things that define who you are? What are some things that define who you are “in Christ” or as a disciple? (“Inside” and “Outside”) [Ex: Inside might be, “I am a child of God” or “I am loved”. Outside might sound like this: “I am outspoken about my faith” or “I help others”.]
- What is something “new” that you have experienced so far this year? What is something “new” about you this year? (Inside and Out)
- What are some of the marks of a “new creation” in the passage we just read? (Share examples of “inside” and “outside” changes)
- What would those marks look like in your school? Your teams? Your circles offriends? At church?
- What changes need to happen in our lives to help these marks of a new creation grow in our lives?
“What R-U-2-Do?” (Real-Life Scenarios):
Have students answer how they might respond as followers of Christ. What difference does being “in Christ” make in your decision?
- You are playing [a sport] and someone on the other team calls you a name…
- You are sitting at the lunch table and someone tells you the latest gossip about someone else in class… — You audition for a part in the school play and someone else gets it instead of you…
- See if your group can come up with some other scenarios.
“How are we doing this week with our 3 simple guides?” [1 Thessalonians 5:16-22] — “Doing No Harm, Doing Good, and Staying In Love With God”